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Preserving Perak’s Heritage

By James Gough

The first ever living heritage exhibition showcasing the traditional arts and crafts and cultures from throughout the state was held with much fanfare and colour.

Dato Hamidah (2nd from left) greeted by dancing Lions on arrival. On her right is Kinta Heritage Director Adib Vincent Tung

Themed the “1 Malaysia, Perak Lost Heritage” the exhibition was held at the Garden Villa, 5 Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah until December 5. It was co-organised by the Kinta Heritage Group and the State government with the purpose of creating awareness of cultures and traditions around us.

Silat demonstration

Perak Tourism Chairman, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, who officiated at the opening of the exhibition was greeted by dancing lions upon her arrival followed with a silat exhibition.

Kinta Heritage Director, Adib Vincent Tung who welcomed Hamidah, was dressed in the traditional Malay costume complete with Sampin and matching headgear, setting the mood for the exhibition. Also present on the morning was Malaysia’s favorite cartoonist Dato’ Mohammad Nor Khalid more endearingly known as Lat.

Hamidah, in her address praised the organizers for initiating this exhibition saying that “we should preserve our valuable heritage and culture for the next generation and repeating her often mentioned slogan, “once our heritage is gone, it is gone forever’.

The craftsmen demonstrated how to make rattan baskets, wooden clogs, the Malay Keris, a lions head or head gear from palm leaves.

Semai song and dance

Semai Orang Asli from Ulu Geroh performed their melodic song and dance and the Punjabi community the lively Bhangra dance.

All the cultures were available for viewing at one location. The week long exhibition recorded over 1,200 visitors.

The week long exhibition
recorded over 1200 visitors.
Blood Donation Drive: The Gift of Life on Saturday Dec 18 at the lobby of Hospital Heritage
Fatimah from 9.00 a.m. to 12 p.m. The blood donation drive is in collaboration with
Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun. Donors will receive a free general blood screening
(M50) by Gribbles Pathology (lipid, renal, glucose and urine tests).
PSPA Singers Choral Presentation on ‘A Message of Love and Inspiration’ on
Sunday Dec 19 at 8 p.m. at YMCA Ipoh. Admission is free. Donations collected
at this second charity performance will go to the Orang Asli Community. Contact
YMCA (Michael Thong or Grace): 05-2540809 or PSPA (Sara): 05-5487814.
Wawasan Open University Information Day at its Ipoh regional office on Sunday,
Dec 19 (10.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Counselling for those wishing to enrol. A 50 per
cent waiver on processing fee and gifts for those registering on this day. Call: 05-
Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Chess Championship 2010 – Grand Final on Dec 19 at
Dewan MSN, Majlis Sukan Negeri Perak. Contact: En Yunus Sharif 013-3908129.
Details at PICA website: http://perakchess.blogspot.com.
Perak Malayalee Association (PMA) Family Day & Sports Carnival on Sunday
Dec 19 from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. at Sekolah Menengah Tarcisian Convent, Jalan
Abdul Manap, Lim Garden, Ipoh. Call: 012-5381939 (K. Letchimanan) or 012-
5279650 (K.P. Thatatean).
Olympia College ‘Open Day’ on Tuesday Dec 21 from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. at
its premises: 18 Jln C.M. Yusuff, Ipoh. Also a talk on “Know Your Future Career” at
3.00-4.00 p.m. Contact Mr Foong at: 05-2433868 or 017-5341834.
Malam Anugerah Ikon Usahanita Negeri Perak 2010 on Tuesday, Dec 28 at 7.30
p.m. at the Town Hall, Ipoh. Guests-of-Honour: MB Perak, Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry
Abdul Kadir and wife. Call: Datin Ruby 012-8331801, Pn Maznah 016-5937295 or
Pn Bibi 017-5858477.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Perak – ‘Introduction to Bird-Watching’ Course
on Jan 9 at YMCA Ipoh & Kinta Nature Park. RM20 per pax includes classroom
lectures and practical field trip to Kinta Nature Park.
Contact: Chan Kai Soon 012-531 5670, chankaisoon@hotmail.com or log on: www.
By James Gough

Spunk’s Legacy


Pet NGO spokesman Anthony Thanasayan (in wheel chair) handing a memo to MBI Secretary Dato Abdul Rahim

The death of Spunk, the senior therapy dog and companion to an elderly woman which was shot by MBI enforcement officers early this month despite having a license will not be in vain.

Because of him all dogs will continue to live and all pet lovers can rest easy.

This is because the “Shooting of dogs in Ipoh will be banned with immediate effect”. The order to effect this was given by MBI Secretary Dato Hj Abdul Rahim bin Mohd Ariff this morning after meeting with a half dozen animal welfare and rights groups.

The shooting created an up-roar amongst pet NGOs who stated that the shooting of dogs was inhumane.

The NGOs present today were Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), Noah’s Ark Ipoh, The Sanctuary Ipoh, SPCA Selangor and the Malaysian Animal-Assistant Therapy for Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive). Also present were officers from the State Department for Veterinary Services.

MBI’s sub-committee, which was formed after the shooting of Spunk, will now work very closely with the Veterinary Services Department and NGOs on how to handle stray dogs. Some of the measures proposed were to establish a pound for animals that were caught as well as the methods to be used to capture the animals.

NGO spokesperson, Anthony S. B. Thanasayan of Petpositive based in Selangor, said that Rahim would send a team from MBI next week to visit MPPJ and DBKL to study how the councils there caught dogs in a humane manner as well as its spay/neuter campaign.

Thanasayan said that the best outcome of the meeting though was that MBI would be visiting Spunk’s owner to apologise to her.


National Horse Show 2010


Ipoh is set to host another event of mammoth proportions come December. The national horse show will make its appearance once more after a lapse of four years and will be held at the Perak Turf Club Equestrian Centre, Jalan Golf, Ipoh.

William chairing media briefing

This was announced to the media during a briefing chaired by Organising Committee Chairman, William Balasingam and his team, at the Perak Turf Club conference room on Tuesday, November 16.

The primary objective of the show is to promote equestrian sports among Malaysians. Its secondary objectives are to “create a higher level of recognition for horse riding as a healthy leisure activity” and to “reach a new target audience, especially school children, young adults and families.”

The show will be spread over a 4-day period commencing Thursday, December 2 to Sunday, December 5. The opening ceremony, slated for on Saturday, December 4, will be officiated by Menteri Besar of Perak, Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Among the highlights are equestrian competitions, an equine exposition and a carnival on the turf. These events are aimed at exposing audiences to the world of horse racing, horse breeds, some fun and games all within the confines of the nation’s premier turf club. “It’s about dispelling the myth that the turf club is a refuge for gamblers,” said William in jest.

Ipohites are well advised to take the opportunity and come out in number, as there will be something for everyone – young and old alike. Pony and carriage rides will definitely appeal to the young and not so young while the equestrian competitions to those who love the rough and tumble of horse racing and riding.

“There are horses, ponies, donkeys and mules on show. Even kuda padi,” said William. The kuda padi from Kelantan are hardy animals able to survive on rice and the harsh tropical climate. “They’ll definitely be a show stealer considering that they’re our very own breed of horses,” William remarked.

The climax of the show is picking the eventual winner of the equestrian competitions. He or she stands to win the Tan Sri Jeyaratnam Challenge Trophy, a crowning achievement for budding riders from the competing states. “Some 90 riders have been registered to compete thus far,” said William.

The centre gates will be opened on show days from 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Call Organising Committee Secretary, Sheila, at 05-2530006 or 012-5122687 for details.

William and team with challenge trophy


Kinta Swimming Club Officially Opened


Kinta Swimming Club at Jalan Silibin, which boasted the country’s first Olympic freshwater swimming pool, was recently reopened after being closed for 18 years. It has been refurbished at a total cost of RM5 million.

It's official (l-r) Dato' Seri Ong, VP Hong Soon Kheong, President Hong Weng Kuen, Dato' Michelle and Dato' Yeoh Kian Teik

The MP for Tanjung Malim, Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan, officiated at the opening ceremony. Also present were Ipoh’s favourite daughter and Bond girl Dato’ Michelle Yeoh and her father Dato’ Yeoh Kian Teik, a past President of the Club.

The current President of the club is Mr Hong Weng Kuen and the Vice President is Mr Hong Soon Kheong.

Dato’ Yeoh in his speech related how the club’s founder, the late Mr Foo Wha Cheong had approached his grandfather, the late Yeoh Khuan Joo, in the early 30s with the desire to set up a swimming club for non-Europeans. At that time there was only one swimming club available but was exclusive to Europeans.

The Kinta Swimming Club with a wooden clubhouse was officially launched in 1936 by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Iskandar Shah. In the mid fifties the club was renovated whereby the pool was tiled and a filtration plant built as well as a new clubhouse. It was officially opened by Ipoh Council Chairman Mr G.S. Walker in 1957.

Dato' Michell is made a Patron of the Club

Since its inception the Kinta Swimming Club, being a public pool with continuous supply of fresh water piped in from Kledang Hill by a tin mine belonging to Leong Sin Nam located in the vicinity, proved very popular. Various schools sent their students to learn how to swim and also used it for life-saving training.

The club also produced two outstanding swimmers, Cheah Tong Kim, who represented Malaysia in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Ong Mei Lin who represented the country in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Cheah Tong Kim, an ACS schoolboy, recalls some good memories of the club which he referred to as a second home. “Its entrance fee was 50 sen and we would stay there the whole day swimming or playing water polo at the deep end,” he said. In the sixties Cheah had the reputation of being the fastest breaststroke swimmer in the country. He was also a finalist in the 100m breaststroke at the 1966 commonwealth games in Kingston.

In 1992 the lease for the premises expired and the club was closed.

According to President, Hong, “KSC is not an Elite Club. We cater for the ‘Family-in-the-Street’,” he said.

The club is currently recruiting Transferable Subscribing Members. For enquiries the club can be contacted at: 05-5278417 or 05-5260226.


Seventy-Five Years of Tin Miners’ Together


The Perak Chinese Mining Association celebrated its 75th anniversary recently with all of its 45 members present, a far cry from its 300-strong membership registered during the 70s.

Main Table (l-r): Dato' Chin Lean Choong, Tan Sri Dato' Hew See Tong, Datuk Paul Leong Khee Seong, Choong Tian Chuan, George Lee, Dato' Cheong Kai Fu, Teoh Chin Chong, Foo Wan Lian, Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Dato' Chin Lean Keat and William Teoh Beng Siang

The members present were the 2nd generation children of the Tin Miners at the time when tin was king. The current President of the Association, Choong Tien Chuah is the son of prominent tin miner Choong Sam while its vice president Dato’ Chin Lean Choong is the son of another prominent tin miner Chin Pek Soo. Some of the other distinguished personalities present were Tan Sri Dato’ Hew See Tong and Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian.

Association President Choong also welcomed the presence of 2 former Ministers of Primary Industries Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik and Datuk Paul Leong Khee Seong, both sons of Ipoh tin miners.

The dinner was the first held in twenty years after the protracted decline of the tin industry which began since the mid 1980s.
In his speech Choong deferred describing the mining industry as a “sunset” industry preferring to explain that the low tin price is only a “transitional eclipse” and that the demand for the metal had never diminished whatever the price. Choong added that the Association has ‘persistently appealed to the government to preserve all marginal mining lands as well as to open more land for mining in anticipation of an upturn of the tin price. However its appeals has fallen on deaf ears so far.”

Nevertheless Choong still harbours a faint hope that the fortunes of the mining industry may one day change for the better and allow the Association to be relevant for the next 75 years.

The current tin price is US$26,500/ton which is nearly 3 times that of the ceiling price under the last International Tin Agreement.

The Perak Chinese Mining Association was formed in 1935 by a group of 54 Chinese miners with the purpose of safeguarding the interests of the Chinese Tin Mining community. The Association premises is located at two lots at the end of Jalan Tun Sambanthan opposite Wisma U Ming; one lot is being used for the association while the other  was for its recreation club called Yatloo Club. Some of its founder members included Dato’ Lau Pak Khuan, Cheong Chee and Foong Seong.

Incidentlally, the dinner was held at the Loke Lum (Millionaires) Club, established in the early 20th century. Its original premises used to be a bungalow at the junction of Brewster Road and Laxamana Road where Yik Foong Plaza is now located. Its current premises is located along Gopeng Road.


Love and Death in Java

By James Gough
Extras on the verandah of the Station Hotel

Teamworx Television and Film GmbH of Germany, a leading German production house, is currently producing a 2-part 90-minute television movie filmed totally in Malaysia of which 10% of the locations are filmed around Ipoh.

Love and Death in Java, the title of the film, is basically a love story and a period movie set amidst the turmoil in Batavia, Java from 1939 to 1949 at the start of the Second World War.

The lead actors for the movie are actor Francis Fulton-Smith and the actress is Muriel Baumeister both popular German actors. The popular local actors include Patrick Teoh and Tony Yussof and a big host of extras.

According to Bill Donovan, the Producer with Biscuit Films, the local film production support service company, Ipoh was chosen as it has a lot of suitable heritage buildings with “all the right settings for a period movie”.

One of the scenes taking place at the verandah of the Station Hotel had actors and actresses dressed in period costumes of the colonial era. The previous day had the crews filming at Batu Gajah and in front of the Town Hall.

Donovan could not reveal the cost of producing the movie saying “I am not the main producer” but said the expenditure to house his team of 75 crew for a whole week was “sizeable”. His expenditure did not include the other multiple support crews coming in and out for the week. A welcome bonanza indeed for Ipoh’s hospitality and service industry.

“120 Years of Faithfulness”

By James Gough

At the altar (l-r) Fr Cheah, Bishop Selvanayagam and Fr Chong

Church of St Michael Ipoh recently celebrated its 120th Anniversary with a mass and procession.

Themed ‘120 Years of Faithfulness’, the mass was celebrated by Bishop Antony Selvanayagam, of Penang Diocese together with Parish Priest Fr Michael Cheah and his assistant Fr Anthony Chong on a huge canopied stage in the church’s car park.

The main event of the celebration was a procession starting from the church onto Jalan Sultan Idris Shah (Brewster Road) then turning into Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street) and Jalan Raja Ekram (Cowan Street) before returning to Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and the church.

The Monstrance being escorted by Fr Chong

The procession was led by the Sam Tet School Band followed by the church ministry’s and BEC (Basic Ecclesiastical Community) groups. The Statue of Patron Saint, St Michael the Archangel, was mounted behind a 4-wheel drive. The Monstrance also followed the procession and was escorted by Fr Anthony Chong.

The St Michael’s Church was initially built of timber and atap in 1890 by Father Emille Bavillion at the location where the Main Convent is now. The present building was completed in 1924 during the time of parish priest Fr Jean B Coppine. Its entrance featured twin towers and Gothic Arches.

The statue of patron saint St Michael the Archangel atop the 4 wheel drive used for the procession

Its patron saint, St Michael the Archangel, is located at the niche above the white marble altar and is flanked in stain glass by St John The Baptist, on the left and St Joseph with the child Jesus on the right.
Five years ago Fr Cheah initiated to upgrade the structure of the church as well as the surrounding buildings. Additions included an outdoor stations-of-the-cross and a water fountain with a bronze statue of the patron saint above it. The church is air conditioned.

According to Fr Cheah the total cost of work done was “around RM2 million”. Fr Cheah was transferred to St Michael’s five and a half years ago from St Anne’s Church Bukit Mertajam. His next post come November will be in Penang.

St Michael’s Church is a historical building.

The Amazing Walk


Pak Peter

“This is an amazing walk not the amazing race”, said Pak Peter, the Marshal for the day; and what was amazing about it was that 100 people, from all walks of life and different social concerns, walked approximately 6½ km for mental health awareness. In conjunction with Mental Health Day on October 10, KAMI (Kinta Action on Mental Health Issues Society Perak) and Nomad Adventure organised this awareness walk. The Walk from Gopeng through Kg Jahang and Kg Chulek and ending at Nomad Adventure, was also an eco awareness experience. Participants were encouraged to “interact, respond and make a difference”. Simultaneous walks were also organised in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. Among the walkers were visitors from Singapore, Austria and Holland. Participation was limited to reduce the impact on the environment.

…and off we go!

Laughter warmup with Yuen-li

The Walk was led by KAMI vice-chairman, Mr Lau Yew Kee and representatives from different groups. There could not have been a better day for the Walk. The morning was slightly overcast with an occasional cool breeze under the canopy of trees, the tarred road meandered through oil palm estates and kampongs, made it a very pleasant walk indeed. Chan Yuen-li, director of Nomad, did warm-up laughter exercises with the group before the start; drumming and lunch were also included in the programme, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed. Director of KAMI, Ong Su-ming acknowledged and thanked sponsors, donors, NGOs and all the participants.

Ong Su-ming

The objectives of the Walk was not only to create better public awareness on mental health but also to “de-stigmatise mental illness and to advocate for the rights, well-being and public support for the mentally ill”. This is all the more pertinent when “WHO (World Health Organisation) predicts that within 20 years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem”.

If this Walk gave us a better understanding of mental health and illness, and nature awareness, than it would have achieved its purpose.

KAMI is an affiliate member of MINDA (Movement to Incorporate the New Developments & Actions for the mentally ill) Malaysia. KAMI Community Wellness Centre is at: 4 & 4A Lebuh Perajurit 3/2, Ipoh. Contact: Su – 016-5468003.


Ayur Centre and Soroptimist Adoptees


Ayur Centre Sdn Bhd, the centre that practices Ayurveda, a holistic system of healing developed in India over 6,000 years ago, has just celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Malaysia.

As part of their celebrations, Ayur Centre Ipoh held a Medical Camp at the children’s home of Pertubuhan Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Setia, in Silibin. The home has 44 children who are mentally and physically challenged.

Ayur Centre physicians Dr. Shiva Prasad and Dr. Mahapatra were on hand to conduct tests on the children to select two children whose condition had the potential to be improved and helped through Ayurvedic treatments. The children would subsequently be treated at their Ayur Centre in Tambun for 2-3 weeks.

In conjunction with the anniversary celebration, women’s organisation Soroptimist International adopted the camp as a service project by providing lunch and entertainment for the children of the home. The entertainment was in the form of clown Au Yang whose antics were adored by the children.

Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam, Executive Director of Ayur Centre Sdn Bhd and Soroptomist International National Rep of Malaysia, who read the welcoming address, thanked DYTM Raja Puan Besar Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim for graciously lending her presence and making the morning a memorable event. Also present was YAB Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli, SI Ipoh President Jeyamalar Jeyaratnam and Mr Raymond Ong Kah Ghee, the vice chairman of the home.

Ayur Centre Sdn Bhd also has branches in PJ, Seremban, Butterworth and Johor Baharu.


The Golden Boys of SMI 2010


The annual Old Michaelians Association dinner has always seen a full house of ever boisterous ‘boys’. This year was no different except that all 72 tables for the dinner were sold out 2 months in advance.

A possible reason for this early demand was due to the “Vintage Class of 60” who celebrated their golden Anniversary this year (50 years after graduation) and had taken up 13 tables for the dinner.

The organising chairman for the Class of 60, Sivapragasam, also a golden boy, said that preparations for this years celebration started a whole year earlier. As such the attendance was good with almost two thirds of the boys returning from Canada, England and Australia for the occasion. For dinner the golden boys turned up in green T shirts with the words Golden Jubilee Class of 60 emblazoned on the front and back of the shirts.

The next morning the Golden Boys called on their Alma Mater and was given the customary welcome by the school’s Military Band and Prefects from Forms 1 and 2. LaSalle brothers, Dato’ Bro. Vincent Corkery and Bro. Mathew Bay were present for the function which was held at the school hall.

Old boys Lawrence Chai and Francis Fernandez, during their sharing, had many fond memories of the school such as the hall, the air corp (yes there was an air corp), the teachers and about SMI beating Anderson School 9-0 at football. However their sharp memory of the Maori Warrior song which they sang aloud had the other old boys in the hall singing along.

The boys then walked down memory lane, through the corridors of the school. On the wall outside the Michaelian Heritage Gallery was hung a banner with class photos of the boys. All those present then initialed at the bottom of their photographs.

As a verse in the school song goes, “sons of St Michael’s valiant and true” the Class of 60 then donated a sum of RM1,000 each to the Military band, the Chinese Orchestra and the Heritage Gallery.